One of my all time favorite cookbooks is Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet. It is a wonderful vegan resource full of appetizer, breakfast, soup, salad, and dessert recipes. The recipes are truly unique and always delicious. My mouth always begins watering when I get to the dessert section of the cookbook. And the Raw Balls with their chocolately nut base are no exception — they are a rich and decadent treat!
[caption id="attachment_2708" align="alignnone" width="640"] Pair of Vegan Raw Balls[/caption]
First, gather up the ingredients for the Raw Balls. I always enjoy seeing the natural and fresh ingredients laid out on my kitchen counter. No refined sugar here!
[caption id="attachment_2699" align="alignnone" width="640"] Vegan Raw Balls Ingredients[/caption]
The first step is to grind the walnuts in the food processor.
[caption id="attachment_2700" align="alignnone" width="640"] Almonds in Food Processor[/caption]
Then add the dates…
[caption id="attachment_2701" align="alignnone" width="640"] Adding Dates to Food Processor[/caption]
And mix together!
[caption id="attachment_2702" align="alignnone" width="640"] Dates and Almonds Mixed Together[/caption]
Then add the carob powder and the almond butter to the mixture.
[caption id="attachment_2703" align="alignnone" width="640"] Mixing in Almond Butter and Cacao Powder[/caption]
Finally, add in the almonds.
[caption id="attachment_2704" align="alignnone" width="640"] Adding in Almonds[/caption]
Make sure not to over process the almonds! These balls taste great when there are small almond chunks mixed in for added texture.
[caption id="attachment_2705" align="alignnone" width="640"] Raw Ball Dough with Almond Chunks[/caption]
Next, it’s time to roll the mixture into small balls. It helps if you wet your hands before trying to do this as the mixture is sticky. Spread out the coconut flakes on a flat surface and lightly roll the balls until covered in a snowy white layer.
[caption id="attachment_2706" align="alignnone" width="640"] Coating Raw Balls in Coconut Flakes[/caption]
Store the Raw Balls in the freezer, and enjoy!
[caption id="attachment_2707" align="alignnone" width="640"] Pile of Vegan Raw Balls[/caption]
I’ve been having a real sweet tooth lately. Maybe that’s what happens when you’re 5 months pregnant? I have been trying to at least divert my cravings to things that are somewhat healthy. When my latest desire hit, I went to what has quickly become my favorite dessert cookbook: BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York’s Most Talked-About Bakery. Normally, I’m a chocolate person. However, there was something about the lemon/poppy seed combination that made me want to try it out. And I am GLAD I did!! I will be making this lemon poppy seed cake soon 🙂
I love holidays and holiday food. But I’ve never had a really great dessert recipe for the 4th of July. Until now. Today’s post is all about Hannah Kaminsky’s red, white, and blue cake recipe from her cookbook Vegan Desserts: Sumptuous Sweets for Every Season. No one will be able to resist this raspberry cake topped with light white icing and fresh blueberries. All in all, it is the perfect summer treat.
[caption id="attachment_2612" align="alignnone" width="640"] Piece of 4th of July Cake[/caption]
First up is the raspberry cake. Take a bag of frozen raspberries out of the freezer and allow to thaw.
[caption id="attachment_2598" align="alignnone" width="640"] Raspberries in Food Processor[/caption]
Place the raspberries in a food processor and puree.
And divide the batter evenly between the two pans. You can begin to bake your cakes while you make the frosting.
[caption id="attachment_2604" align="alignnone" width="640"] Cake Batter in Pan[/caption]
This frosting was easy to make and unlike any other I had made before.
[caption id="attachment_2605" align="alignnone" width="640"] Making Frosting[/caption]
For starters, you will need a saucepan! Who knew that when you combine cornstarch and non-dairy milk over heat, it takes on an entirely different texture?
[caption id="attachment_2606" align="alignnone" width="640"] Thickened Corn Starch and Almond Milk[/caption]
As you let that the mixture in the saucepan cool, cream together the sugar and Earth Balance.
[caption id="attachment_2608" align="alignnone" width="640"] Blended Earth Balance and Sugar[/caption]
Then add the saucepan mixture to the mixer. Blend the icing for a few minutes until thoroughly combined.
NOTE: I think this is where I took a mis-step while making my cake. My frosting didn’t come together as well as I had hoped, but I only mixed the ingredients together for about 20 seconds. I suggest taking seriously Ms. Kaminsky recommended blending time of 2-3 minutes. You will likely end up with a much smoother icing than I did!
Ice the outside of the cake and adorn with fresh blueberries in any way you wish. I loved the light, fresh flavor of this cake. Perfect for a hot summer day and a great alternative to red velvet. I also think that the recipe would be great as cupcakes! I hope this recipe makes your 4th of July brighter and happier!
[caption id="attachment_2682" align="alignnone" width="640"] Slice of red, white, and blue cake[/caption]
Last week it was cold and rainy in San Diego (ie weather Southern Californians consider to be “winter”). And so I decided I would warm up with some home made soup! I love making this Curried Butternut Squash Soup (inspired by a non-vegan recipe from Runner’s World)! The curry powder and coconut milk ensure that the soup is super creamy and full of flavor.
I love all things coconut. Especially coconut milk. It tastes great on its own or as an addition to smoothies or oatmeal! While commercial brands of coconut milk are available for purchase (thank you So Delicious and Trader Joe’s!), there’s nothing quite like the taste of home made coconut milk. It’s a drink you’ll want to savor. And when you make it at home, you know it’s free from added sugars and preservatives.
Another plus? Research is beginning to show possible health benefits from consuming coconut products. Consuming coconut may assist in losing weight, strengthening the immune system, reducing the risk of heart disease, and improving skin and hair health. For more details, click on the link below:
The ingredient list for this recipe is simple: 1 young coconut. Young coconuts are white on the outside and are usually clearly labeled.
[caption id="attachment_2008" align="alignnone" width="640"] Young Coconut[/caption]
Use a large, sharp knife to begin to break into the coconut about 1 – 1.5 inches from the point of the coconut.
[caption id="attachment_2009" align="alignnone" width="640"] Preparing Young Coconut[/caption]
If your knife (like mine!) isn’t sharp, it may be necessary to shave off the sides of the coconut to gain access to the shell underneath.
[caption id="attachment_2010" align="alignnone" width="640"] Cutting Young Coconut[/caption]
My best advice? Don’t give up! When a crack appears in the shell, you are well on your way. I often use the tip of my knife or fingers as leverage to finish opening the coconut. As long as you are careful, anything goes!
[caption id="attachment_2011" align="alignnone" width="615"] Opened Young Coconut[/caption]
Pour the coconut water into your blender and use a spoon to scrape the meat from the shell.
[caption id="attachment_2012" align="alignnone" width="640"] Scraping Meat Out of Young Coconut[/caption]
You will end up with a good sized pile of coconut meat (I can never resist eating a piece!). It’s then time to pick off any small, brown pieces of shell that are stuck to the coconut meat.
[caption id="attachment_2013" align="alignnone" width="640"] Young Coconut Meat[/caption]
Add the cleaned coconut meat to the coconut water in the blender.
[caption id="attachment_2014" align="alignnone" width="640"] Coconut Water and Meat[/caption]
And blend until smooth! You’re then ready to enjoy a glass of fresh, creamy coconut milk!
[caption id="attachment_2017" align="alignnone" width="640"] Aerial View of Coconut Milk[/caption]
I love new cookbooks. I read them cover to cover. I flip through the pages scanning ingredient lists and baking instructions until my eyes start to cross. There is always something new to learn. My newest reading material? The Babycakes cookbook. Didn’t I just write a post about Babycakes’ vegan, gluten-free brownies and say that I didn’t own the cookbook but wished I did? Yes! But then I saw it when I was out shopping. Happy holidays to me!
In 2004, Erin McKenna was diagnosed with wheat and dairy allergies. She looked at the available desserts and decided it was a “wasteland of uninspired products.” So, she created her own recipes and opened Babycakes in New York City (now also with locations in Los Angeles and Orlando). Happily, for those of us who don’t live in city that has a Babycakes, she has shared her recipes in a cookbook!
Things I love about the Babycakes Cookbook:
(1) There is a photo of each recipe.
(2) McKenna includes a “Tools, Ingredients, and Tips” section to orient those new to baking or vegan ingredients.
(3) McKenna introduces each recipe with a short vignette.
(4) Celebrities (think Natalie Portman and Pamela Anderson!) have shared which Babycakes baked good they can’t live without!
[caption id="attachment_1881" align="alignnone" width="640"] Close Up of Vegan Muffin[/caption]
I decided to make raspberry muffins (you can substitute other berries if you prefer!). I love experimenting in the kitchen, and I was excited to use some new ingredients. Like spelt flour.
Spelt is one of the oldest cultivated grains — it can be traced back more than 6,000 years to Mesopotamia. Spelt is a distant cousin of wheat. Although spelt (like wheat) contains gluten, it is easier to digest (and in fact some individuals with gluten sensitivities are able to digest spelt without issue). Why is spelt easier to digest than wheat? (1) Spelt’s gluten is water soluble and breaks down more easily than wheat’s gluten. (2) Spelt, an ancient grain, has retained its hard outer hull for pest protection. Modern wheat no longer has an outer hull and protects itself from pests with enzyme inhibitors (and enzymes are what we use to digest food!).
Next, it was time to add the wet ingredients. I dutifully added the lemon extract even as I was wondering if I had just bought an unnecessary bottle that would further clutter up my already bursting kitchen.
[caption id="attachment_1874" align="alignnone" width="640"] Vegan Wet and Dry Muffin Ingredients[/caption]
These muffins were not just good. They were great. The biggest test came when it was time for my fiancé to try one. He doesn’t really like muffins (which I absolutely do NOT understand!). In the past, this has left me with eating or gifting any muffins that I have baked. This time was different. He declared that they were “really special,” and polished off two.
Was it the lemon extract that I so grudgingly added that made these muffins magic? I don’t know. What I do know is that I will happily make space in my kitchen for the lemon extract, so I can make these muffins again. Often.
[caption id="attachment_1879" align="alignnone" width="640"] Vegan Muffin Cut in Half[/caption]
Is there anything better than a piece of hearty lasagna in the middle of winter? San Diego’s December nights might not rival other parts of the country, but it still feels cold to me! A good vegan lasagna recipe eluded me for years. That was until I tried Angela Liddon’s recipe from her vegan blog, Oh She Glows. According to Tom (that’s my boyfriend for those of you who are new readers!), the lasagna is “better than any dish in a restaurant.” To see Ms. Liddon’s lasagna post click on:
[caption id="attachment_1703" align="alignnone" width="640"] Piece of Lasagna[/caption]
The brilliance of this lasagna is the basil cashew cheese. Most vegan lasagna recipes try to mimic vegan ricotta cheese and the results are tasteless. The basil and lemon give this cheese and the lasagna as a whole a bold, zesty flavor.
You’ll notice that this recipe calls for 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water. I like using vegetable broth, because it helps to enhance flavor. In the past, I often found myself buying 32 ounce boxes of vegetable broth, using a small portion, and then having the remainder sit in my refrigerator forgotten long after its expiration date. So, I was thrilled when I attended a cooking class and experimented with Better Than Bouillon, a paste that when mixed with water makes a savory vegetable broth. Now I keep a jar of it on hand, so I can make vegetable broth whenever I want!
Throw all of the ingredients in the blender.
[caption id="attachment_1684" align="alignnone" width="640"] Basil Cashew Cheese Ingredients in Blender[/caption]
After the ingredients are blended, you will end up with a bright, green sauce.
[caption id="attachment_1686" align="alignnone" width="640"] Basil Cashew Cheese in Bowl[/caption]
It’s then time to begin on the other lasagna layers. Chop up the onion and garlic…
[caption id="attachment_1688" align="alignnone" width="640"] Onion and Garlic[/caption]
And sautee them in a pan.
[caption id="attachment_1689" align="alignnone" width="640"] Onion and Garlic in Pan[/caption]
And what would lasagna be without the noodles? Add the noodles to boiling water. Remember to cook them al dente. They will continue to soften and absorb moisture while the lasagna cooks in the oven.
[caption id="attachment_1695" align="alignnone" width="640"] Noodles Boiling in Water[/caption]
Drain the noodles, and rinse them with cold water.
[caption id="attachment_1696" align="alignnone" width="640"] Noodles in Strainer[/caption]
The hard part is over. It’s now time to assemble the lasagna! First, begin with a layer of marinara sauce. Use 1/3 of your marinara sauce for this layer (you will use the rest for additional layers later).
It’s then time to do it all again! Tomato sauce, spinach, noodles, basil cashew cheese, and vegetables. Finally, add a 3rd layer of marinara sauce and a liberal sprinkling of shredded vegan cheese!
[caption id="attachment_1701" align="alignnone" width="640"] Final Layer: Vegan Cheese[/caption]
Cover the lasagna with tin foil and put it in the oven. Soon your home will begin to fill with mouth-watering aromas. Remember to then remove the tin foil off, and cook the lasagna for an additional 5 minutes!
[caption id="attachment_1707" align="alignnone" width="640"] Taking Tin Foil Off of Vegan Lasagna[/caption]